New Historical Exhibition, Rebuilding for the Future A New Deal for Long Beach 1933-1942

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The Historical Society of Long Beach is proud to announce the opening of its next original exhibition, Rebuilding for the Future- A New Deal for Long Beach 1933-1942. Funded in part by a grant from the Long Beach Navy Memorial Heritage Association, it features photographs by J. Christopher Launi, along with archival prints and historic ephemera. Exhibition Opening is Friday, June 17, 2011 at the Historical Society of Long Beach.

The exciting new exhibition features 57 photographs of little known as well as iconic projects funded by the federal government between 1933 and 1942. Most of the pieces are striking photographs taken by Launi of murals, mosaics, and architectural details featured in Long Beach. The exhibition accentuates the importance of federally funded projects—creating an uptick in the local economy, employing people, building infrastructure, and enriching people’s lives through art and cultural programs. Rebuilding for the Future includes lesser known projects as well as works of art that people pass by everyday. Four public programs will be held to discuss aspects of the New Deal on Long Beach.

For over twenty years local historians, preservationists and arts organizations have been conducting research, photographing, and attempting to compile an inventory of art in local schools funded by the New Deal. Upon further exploration, the federal New Deal projects were not just limited to art and architecture. There are iconic local projects such as the grand mosaic “Recreation in Long Beach” that was originally made for the municipal Auditorium but now graces the side of a parking structure on Third Street in downtown an the mosaic tiled floor at the Long Beach Airport. More obscure New Deal projects included funding for health menaces and rodent control, sewer and road projects, the Naples canal walls, public utility projects, writers’ projects, construction of runways and art at the airport, and music programs at the Municipal Auditorium. Most notably, the New Deal funded the replacement and repairs on local public schools that were massacred in the 1933 earthquake. Finally, much of this work is coming together in an exhibition at the HSLB. Local photographer J. Christopher Launi photographed many works of art and lent photographs he had already taken for the show.

Exhibition Sections Include: Long Beach Airport, Long Beach Polytechnic High School, Wilson High School, Long Beach Public Library, Jane Addams Elementary School, Lindbergh Middle School, Washington Middle School, Rogers Middle School, and Fire Station Number 7. A section on public buildings includes the Port of Long Beach, St. Mary Medical Center, a sample of easel art in the collection of the Long Beach Museum of Art, Veteran’s Memorial building (now gone), and sewer construction.

Opening Reception: Friday, June 17th from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the Historical Society of Long Beach 4260 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach CA 90807. Remarks will be made at 7:00 p.m. This is a free event that is open to the public.

Accompanying Public Programs:

  • August 5- Long Beach Museum of Art’s New Deal Easel Art Collection
  • September 2- LBUSD School New Deal Projects
  • October 7- Locals & the New Deal
  • November 4- Art & Architecture at Long Beach Airport

The show runs through December 31, 2011.
Exhibition hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 1-5 p.m, Thursday 1-7 p.m, and Saturday 11-5 p.m.

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